Mail Order Hearing Aids Illegal in St. Petersburg for a Reason

Introduction

One of my established St. Petersburg patients returned to my office complaining that she had ringing in her left ear and loud sounds were uncomfortable after she started wearing hearing aids that were mailed from her insurance company. She reported that her insurance company had adjusted the hearing aids according to my recent hearing test. They offered her phone support if she had problems.

My Impressions

The hearing aids sounded very loud, considering her recent hearing test. They screeched and squealed when she tried to wear them. I retested her hearing and compared to previous exam. Her left ear was significantly worse.

Recommendations

I told her that the mail order hearing aids were improperly fitted. These hearing aids were amplifying loud sounds that probably damaged her hearing. I recommended that she stop wearing the hearing aids and consult with an ear doctor.

Outcome

She reported that she could not afford to pay out of pocket for a doctor appointment. She asked her insurance company for a referral to a physician. They denied her request. Instead, they asked her to mail the aids back to them for adjustments.
Mail order hearing aids are illegal in Florida for a reason. Hearing aids are a medical device and, improperly fitted they could damage your hearing.

I recommended that she report this incident to the Florida Department of Professional Regulation. She never filed a complaint.

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